The 2021 publication of Building Sharjah marks the completion of an intensive five-year research project to collect and reconstruct Sharjah’s modern landscape, including the parts once imagined and those no longer to be found. Co-edited by Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi and Todd Reisz and published by Birkhäuser, Building Sharjah is one of the most engaging and thorough examinations of the history of modernization in the United Arab Emirates. Nearly 600 images from dozens of sources, mostly unpublished until now, in addition to more than 60 featured projects and newly commissioned contributions from 17 writers chart how modernist ambitions came together to engineer a global city.

Sharjah’s tremendous potential enticed an international cast of experts to create a bold, new city. As their projects continue to disappear from the city’s landscape, this book sets out to preserve them through previously unpublished photographs and documents. New writing chronicles how local and newly arrived residents arranged the designed, concrete environment into a home. Beyond just a local artifact, this book examines the confident promises made by global practices of urbanization.

Building Sharjah brings together a group of voices who know this city well with those whose expertise contributes to understanding Sharjah in a global context. Their works—ranging from literary fiction to neighborhood memoir and heartfelt historical analysis—anchor the book’s deep search for how such a pronounced effort to modernize through architecture materialized for the people arriving to live in Sharjah.

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, editor
Todd Reisz, editor
Reem Khorshid, lead researcher
Farah Fayyad, graphic designer
Ammar Al Attar, photo editor
Azza Abou Alam, researcher
Noura Al Mahmoud, researcher
Eyad Houssami, copy editor
Edo Smitshuijzen, image editing
Ahmad Imran Ahmad Kamal, administration
Asma Faizal, administration
Mohamed Gaber, web designer
Husamuddin Hamad, programmer
Naira Nigrelli, product photographer

Where to purchase Building Sharjah:
The book will be available at all major online outlets and at architecture and design bookstores in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and North America.
It can also be ordered from:
The publisher’s website,
Book Depository, and
RIBA Bookstore.

For more information, please contact us at

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